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No central force for civic polls: Govt

Unarmed Home guards will take over the might of the mafia during the polls in UP, reports Rajesh Kumar Singh.
None | By Rajesh Kumar Singh, Lucknow
PUBLISHED ON OCT 22, 2006 05:38 PM IST

Unarmed Home guards will take over the might of the mafia and criminal gangs during the Urban Local Bodies Poll.

The Central Government has expressed its inability to provide Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF) required for election duty.

The communication of the Central Government has set alarm bell ringing in the State Election Commission as well as in the State Home Department. Fearing violence during the election the state government has written to the Central Government to provide 25 companies CPMF for deployment in the sensitive districts.

The state police is already under pressure as large force has been deployed in the districts to maintain law and order during the festivals.

The state government has been left with no other option but to fall on the Home guards for the election duty. Over 85,000 Home guard jawans would be deployed in the districts for all the three phases of poll. These unarmed and poorly trained jawans would be deputed at the polling booths, on roads manning the movement of vehicles and at the spots where ballot papers would be counted.

The mafia and criminal gangs armed with sophisticated fire arms have already jumped into election fray supporting one candidate or another contesting for the Mayor, Chairman and Corporator posts. In several districts the rival gangs are eyeball to eyeball and State Election Commission fears violence in these districts on the day of the poll.

In such a situation it would be herculaen task for these shabby looking jawans armed with baton to counter the threat of the mafia and man the polling booths in the sensitive districts, said a senior police force. Few jawans are trained to operate firearms and they might have forgotten it as after recruitment they have not undergone any training, he said.          

Even the Governor TV Rajeswar has directed the State Election Commission (SEC) to ensure deployment of CPMF in the sensitive districts including Etawah, Meerut, Aligarh, Moradabad, Varanasi, Barielly, Kannauj, JP Nagar, Mau, Azamgarh, Ghazipur, Mirzapur, Mainpuri, Gonda, Basti, Etah, Kanpur Nagar and Ferozabad.

The State Election Commissioner Aparmita Prasad Singh said the State Election Commission (SEC) has written to the State Government to get the CPMF from Centre to ensure peaceful and fair poll in the sensitive districts. SEC has also urged the Governor to get paramilitary force from center with using the influence of his office.

On Saturday the Joint Secretary (Police) Government of India, BN Gaur told the State Election Commissioner that no CPMF would be provided to UP for deployment during the civic elections. Gaur told Singh that Central Government does not provide CPMF for local bodies election.

Police Department officials said the Center has assured to provide 12 company of Rapid Action Force (RAF). But these forces would be not deployed on election duty, but would be stationed as a reserve force in the sensitive districts, the officers said.

The state is left with 102 companies of PAC and district police force. Out of this 74 company has been placed under the charge of various DIG Range and 7 companies under IGP of various zones. To meet the crisis the Police Department has decided to depute 581 inspectors and 135 sub inspectors who are undergoing training on election duty.

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